You'll be happy to know that I am gaining a great deal of experience in how to not have a trial. I expect to add to this list in the upcoming weeks, but for those of you who would rather not wait, here are the first five reasons why I have not presented a single argument at trial:
- The defendant hears about his trial in absentia and appears without a lawyer. As my witness takes the stand, the defendant interupts. "Your honour, I don't understand why this is so complicated..." and continues with an interjection that convinces the judge to adjourn the trial so that the defendant can either get a lawyer or discuss his options with me. [He got a lawyer.]
- While reading over the evidence for a by-law prosecution, I realize that there are flaws in the charges and when the matter is called in court, I must withdraw the charge.
- On a prosecution for a "no smoke alarm" ticket, the defendant does not appear. Tickets with set fines under $500 fall under Part 1 of the Provincial Offences Act, if the defendant is not present he is "deemed to not dispute" and found guilty. No calling of evidence or legal argument is required.
- On a Part 3 prosecution under the Fire Code, the defendant appears, but the fire inspector doesn't. I ask for an adjournment. The justice of the peace turns me down and dismisses the charge because I haven't proved the offence.
- In Small Claims Court, the student-at-law for the plaintiff has the plaintiff take the stand and the plaintiff gives about fifteen minutes of testimony. Then my learned friend refers to something in her trial brief and the judge asks for a copy. "You should have this," he is told. But he doesn't. And he doesn't have my trial brief either. Even though both were filed and he has the addendum I filed after filing my brief. Trial adjourned so he can read the briefs. [And I gave him my copy, so now I have to make another copy with the tabs and the cirlox and re-do my highlighting and margin notes.]